§ Mr. Mills
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what action she is taking in her communications with the European Commission to prevent the subsidies given by certain EC member countries on the production of pig meat; and if she will make a statement;
(2) what representations she has received about the difficulties being experienced by United Kingdom pig producers due to the dumping of exported pig meat by France, Netherlands, Germany and Denmark.
§ Mr. Jack
We have received representations from hon. Members on behalf of constituents and from individual pig producers and their representative bodies. I will shortly be meeting the British Pig Association. They are all concerned about the state of the European Community pigmeat market and allegations of illegal national aids in some member states.
The current low prices are caused by high levels.of supply on the pigmeat market resulting from industry expansion in most member states, including the United Kingdom. Prices are low throughout the single market.
Although there are rumours of illegal aids to pig producers in other member states, we only have firm evidence in respect of a scheme in France. My right hon. Friend has written to the European Commission twice urging that an early decision be made on the legal status of this aid in accordance with article 93 of the treaty and that the appropriate action then be taken. She has also twice raised the matter in the Council of Ministers and the United Kingdom delegation has raised it at every pigmeat management committee from September.